If you are hoping to start a berry bramble in your own backyard, you may be wondering how to best cultivate and grow your own blackberry seeds. Popular for their juicy, tart taste, blackberries grow and spread prolifically, with very little effort. But how can you best germinate blackberry seeds for your own garden?
Blackberry seeds need multiple months in a cold setting to germinate, but this process can be easily replicated in your home. Once the seeds have sprouted and grown indoors, planting blackberry seedlings in spring or fall yields the most prolific and delicious harvests in the summertime!
If you want to grow and plant your own blackberry bramble from seed, here’s how using our step-by-step guide.
|Blackberry Seeds||How to Grow|
|Number of Blackberry Varieties||50+, divided into three primary categories (erect thorny, erect thornless, and trailing with or without thorns)|
|Hardiness Zones||4 through 10|
|Time of Year to Germinate Seeds||3-6 months before planting season|
|Time of Year to Plant Seedlings||Spring or fall|
|Things to Note||Blackberry plants spread prolifically and are considered an invasive species in some locations, so be sure to keep an eye on them!|
Types of Blackberry Seeds and Popular Cultivars
When it comes to choosing a blackberry variety that works well for you, there are a few things for you to consider. Most blackberry plants are divided into three primary categories that refer to how the plant grows. These categories include erect thorny, erect thornless, and trailing varieties that come with or without thorns.
Within these varieties, there are a number of different cultivars and hybrid berry plants to choose from. You may need to pay special attention to the hardiness zones or preferred growing climates of some of these varieties, especially if you live in an especially cold region. For the most part, blackberries thrive in hardiness zones 5 through 10, but there are some cold-hardy varieties available.
Let’s check out some popular cultivars or blackberry varieties now.
Erect Thorny Varieties
Widely cultivated for their ease of growing and commercial use, thorny blackberries grow quickly and have many cold-hardy varieties. Some of the best thorny blackberry seeds to consider include:
- Black Butte– huge berries, hardy in zones 6-10
- Kiowa– heavy producer, hardy in zones 5-9
- Darrow– delicious and cold-hardy in zones 4-10
Erect Thornless Varieties
Looking for an upright blackberry plant without thorns? Check out some of the most popular erect thornless varieties of blackberry seeds:
- Doyle– high producer, plantable in all 50 states
- Triple Crown– late season ripening in zones 5-9
- Arapaho– small seeds and early ripening in zones 6-8
If you have the space and want something similar to the blackberries found throughout the Pacific Northwest, choosing a trailing variety of blackberry may work well for you. Here are some popular cultivars:
- Wild Treasure– thornless and sweet berries for backyards in zones 7-9
- Obsidian– large berries and pest-resistant, hardy in zones 6-8
- Chester– thornless and self-pollinating in zones 5-8
Germinating and Growing Blackberry Plants from Seed
Growing blackberry from seed is something that takes time and patience. If you are hoping to save some money by growing your own blackberry plants from seed, it’s definitely a good idea. However, you need nearly a full year to establish strong enough blackberry seedlings or starts to survive outdoors.
If you have the patience and desire to grow blackberry seeds, here’s our step-by-step process for accomplishing this.
How to Germinate Blackberry Seeds
- Get your seeds in the fridge. Cold stratification is necessary for blackberry seeds in order to germinate and grow. The easiest way to accomplish this is by combining the seeds and some damp moss or paper towels into a plastic bag. Place that bag in your fridge or in an area that remains between 30-35 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-6 months. Make sure the moss or paper towels stay damp, but otherwise let your blackberry seeds be!
- Prepare a container for your seeds. Once your seeds have finished germinating, they still need some time indoors. Place rocks at the bottom of your desired container and add high quality soil and compost. Plant your seeds and water deeply; you don’t need to worry too much about spacing the seeds at this point in time.
- Wait and water your seedlings. Blackberry plants need a decent amount of time indoors before being planted outside. Maintain care of your blackberry seeds as they grow, allowing them time to get stronger and hardier to temperature changes. Keep the soil moist, and watch your seeds grow, as they need even more time after your initial germination phase!
Planting Blackberry Starts
Depending on when you began germinating your blackberry seeds, you should be set to plant your blackberry starts in spring or fall. While it’s already been about a year of germination and seedling growth, your new blackberry plants are unlikely to produce very many berries their first year. This is why many home gardeners choose to pay a bit more and simply plant blackberry starts from their local garden stores.
However, whether you grew your own blackberry starts from seed or chose to purchase an established plant, the process of planting these young berry bushes is the same. Depending on the variety, space your blackberry bushes anywhere from 3-8 feet apart, with trailing blackberries needing the most space. Plant them only a couple inches deep, and spread plenty of mulch or bark on top of the plants. Water with care, as blackberries need to be kept consistently moist, but not drowning!
Harvesting and Saving Blackberry Seeds
If you want to save blackberry seeds from your own plants, you’ll need to spend some time berry picking! Blackberries are extremely easy to pluck from their vines when they are ripe; make sure to only choose fully black or purple berries when harvesting. Bring your berries inside, and place them in a food processor with a bit of water.
Blend the berries and strain the product using a fine mesh sieve. Rinse away any remaining berry pulp or product, and you should have plenty of seeds remaining! You can also do this process with blackberries from the grocery store or farmer’s market. While it may take some time, growing your own blackberry plants from seed is rewarding and economical!
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- Standardizing germination protocols for diverse raspberry and blackberry species, Available here: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0304423811005280
- The blackberry, Available here: https://journals.flvc.org/edis/article/download/119238/117064